Shop for planes, or just watch them

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AEROBATICS: The Surya Kiran team over the Yelahanka Air Force Station, ahead of Aero India 2007, in Bangalore on Tuesday.
AEROBATICS: The Surya Kiran team over the Yelahanka Air Force Station, ahead of Aero India 2007, in Bangalore on Tuesday.

Ravi Sharma

Buyers and sellers can ill afford to miss Aero India 2007; aerobatic teams to fly on all days

Bangalore: The sixth edition of the country's biennial air show, Aero India 2007 will take off at Air Force Station, Yelahanka from Wednesday. By far the largest edition, the five-day show will reverberate to the roars of over 50 aircraft ranging from the tiny Hansa to the giant C-130 Hercules, to mean fighting machines like the Su-30MKI, F/A-18F Super Hornet, Gripen, F-16 Fighting Falcon, Light Combat Aircraft, MiG-35 and to sleek business jets like the Falcon and the Bombardier.

Impressive flying displays have been slotted for twice every day, with the highlight of the opening day undoubtedly being the flypast and the displays by the colourful Surya Kiran and Sarang aerobatic teams. They will perform on all five days.

The air show will have over 500 exhibitors (including 300 from 33 overseas countries) who have exhibited their wares and services in 11 hangars and outdoors, spread across an area of over 30,000 sq. m. Also in attendance will be 35 air force chiefs, and 40 official delegations along with their business teams.

While no major deals are expected to be signed during the show, which has grown by over 30 per cent compared to the previous edition, it will be a platform for Indian aerospace and aviation companies to promote and showcase their products and services to an international business audience.

It will also enable Indian companies to interact with the global aviation industry and help in integrating with the global community.

A number of Indian programmes like the Light Combat Aircraft, Intermediate Jet Trainer, Lakshya, Kaveri engine, Saras, the stretched version of the Hansa, Advanced Light Helicopter have needed or still need collaboration from overseas companies.

For international aerospace players the show will not only be an opportunity to showcase their products and technologies, but also to interact with Indian suppliers, manufacturers, technology providers, and crucially the users, both in the armed forces and the civilian sector.

Also, with international aerospace companies chasing a host of lucrative defence deals none can afford to give it a miss.

The IAF is looking to buy 126 multi-role combat aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and transport aircraft of the C-130 Hercules class; the Army wants 200 choppers, unmanned aerial vehicles and 155mm guns; the Coast Guard needs 60 helicopters, while the Navy is keen on buying Airborne Warning and Control Systems and long-range maritime patrol aircraft.

The private airlines are also looking to purchase aircraft. So too are a number of business houses who are keen on buying corporate jets.

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